Sadiq Khan has appealed to the government to allow London boroughs to increase council tax bills for high-value empty homes.
The call comes after a report commissioned by the Mayor, which found that the majority of empty homes in London were in the high-value market and in prime locations including parts of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea .
He wrote to the government to ask that councils be able to charge more than the current 50% cap which would incentivise occupation of the homes or go some way towards paying for affordable housing in the borough.
The move was supported by Westminster Council, where the most expensive properties can cost several million pounds.
The empty home levy imposed by Westminster on a Band H property would be just £688.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing our city today and I’ve been honest with Londoners from the start – we won’t turn things round overnight.
"This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint and we need to be able to take robust action to tackle it."
“In the midst of a housing crisis, just one home left unoccupied is one too many," he added.
"That is why I will be working closely with boroughs like Westminster City Council to fight Londoners’ corner by calling for the government to allow boroughs to charge a higher Council Tax on empty properties at a rate that makes a difference.”
Westminster Council leader, Councillor Nickie Aiken, said: “I support the Mayor’s proposal for greater flexibility to be afforded to local authorities around the amount that could be levied on empty homes.
"Not only is it an important message to send out, it would also generate additional funds to be invested in our areas for the benefit of local residents.
"Along with the Mayor I have made it my priority to ensure that we have genuinely affordable housing in the heart of the capital.”
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